Mikheil Saakashvili, the new president of Georgia in Eastern Europe, is to receive an award on Saturday, Aug. 7, in Atlanta from the American Bar Association for exceptional leadership in legal reform.
Mr. Saakashvili, a 36-year-old U.S. trained lawyer was elected president of the former Soviet republic by a landslide in January when he defeated former President Eduard Shevardnadze.
The ABA’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiatives (CEELI) advances the rule of law by supporting the legal reform process in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.
Since being founded in 1990, more than 5,000 judges, lawyers, law professors and legal specialists have contributed pro bono assistance to CEELI programs promoting the rule of law around the world.
Mr. Saakashvili was born in 1967 in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital and a Sister City of Atlanta. He graduated from the Kiev University Institute of International Relations in the Ukraine.He also received a law degree from Columbia University in New York in 1994 and studied at Georgia Washington University where he received a postdoctoral degree in 1995.
He worked at the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP from 1994-95 and then returned to his home country where he began his political career as a protégé of Mr. Shevardnadze.
In 2000 he became a justice minister and launched a high-profile campaign against corruption in the government, sparking a political confrontation with Mr. Shevardnadze. The following year he launched the National Movement, a political party that provided him with his political base from which he was able to challenge Mr. Shevardnadze.
In May, Mr. Saakashvili was able to force the resignation of Aslan Abashidze, the authoritarian leader of the Ajara region, and keep it from breaking off from the country.
Tbilisi’s Sister City relationship with Atlanta dates back to 1988, making it the second oldest of Atlanta’s 17 Sister City relationships.
The cost of tickets for the luncheon, which is anticipated to have some 1,000 attendees, is $600 for a benefactor ticket or $300 for a patron ticket. To learn more about the privileges associated with the different tickets or about sponsorship opportunities, call Elina Erlendsson at (202) 662-1522 or send an email to email@example.com.